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Tuesday, February 7 • 3:20pm - 3:40pm
Symposia Session - S5: Playa Wetland Ecology. How Will Playa Plant Communities Respond to a Changing Climate? Inferences from a Greenhouse Experiment

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AUTHORS: Rachel K. Owen, School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri; Elisabeth B. Webb, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, U.S. Geological Survey; Keith W. Goyne, School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri

ABSTRACT: Playas are shallow, recharge wetlands located throughout the High Plains and provide many essential ecosystem functions, including nutrient filtration, groundwater recharge, and wildlife habitat; however, predicted increases in temperature and precipitation intensity over the next century may alter ecosystem services associated with playas. Changes in playa hydroperiod (frequency, duration and depth of inundation) may affect vegetative communities and soil function, which could alter available food resources for migratory water birds in the Central Flyway. Regional climate models predict increased temperatures and precipitation intensity in the next thirty years. We are conducting a six-month greenhouse experiment on playa soils from Nebraska and Texas to quantify treatment effects (based on predicted climate changes) on seed bank plant production, soil chemical properties, ion speciation, and ecological tipping point. Soil mesocosm containers are being subjected to four hydroperiod treatments, representing historic and future climate conditions. Local data were used to create the historic climatic simulation and CMIP5 – BCCA downscaled atmosphere ocean general circulation models (AOGCMs) for the RCP 4.5 emission scenarios (years 2071-2099) were used to develop future climatic simulations. Plant and seed biomass will be measured by dry weight at the end of the experiment. Plant species composition and plant physiological response are measured biweekly using the Simpson’s Diversity Index and chlorophyll content of the dominant species, respectively. Daily soil moisture readings are being used to track treatment conditions and deionized water is added as needed to maintain appropriate conditions. Soil temperature and redox potential are measured continuously using a data logger and sensors. Soil solution samples are collected following heavy rainfall events using suction lysimeters and bulk soil samples are collected biweekly. Results of this experiment will identify vegetative and soil properties most sensitive to hydroperiod alteration and identify the greatest potential risks to playa ecosystem functions in a changing climate.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 3:20pm - 3:40pm CST
Yankee Hill I/II

Attendees (5)